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Bloomberg keeps in step with ragamuffins

Jaunty floats, pulsating music and a surge of revelers transformed the area into a dazzling boulevard of fun and frolics as the annual children’s Ragamuffin Parade got underway in Bay Ridge %u2013 with a visit from Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

The merry march %u2013 now in its 43rd year %u2013 featured a cavalcade of costumed munchkins, enjoying an amiable amble along Third Avenue, 72nd to 92nd streets, to celebrate the onset of fall fun.

The delightful sight of hundreds of imaginatively dressed youngsters added to the creative, homespun flavor of the tyke trek, which showcased a spooktacular smattering of witches, ghouls and goblins in addition to more whimsical offerings by the pint-sized participants.

Keeping frolickers attuned to festivities were student marching bands and dance troupes and strolling performers waving to spectators from aboard floats.

The Ragamuffin Parade, which began as a safe alternative to trick or treating, has grown into one of Brooklyn’s premier street spectacles with contest and prizes for the best-dressed “ragamuffins.”

The winners, who received bicycles, were: Jack Guariglia, pencil eraser; Piper Jording, gnome; Michael Tremblay, wolf; Rebecca Feliciana, “Operation” game; and Chelsea Nunez, Mother Nature.

Leading the line of march alongside Hizzoner were Grand Marshal Laurie Windsor, president of District 20’s Community Education Council, and “Man of the Year” James McHugh, president of the Brooklyn Cathedral Club.

The parade was dedicated to the memories of grassroots gladiators James Sempepos, former president of the Bay Ridge Community Council and a 20-year announcer at the Ragamuffin Parade; and Rosemarie O’Keefe, a veteran Bay Ridge activist, who served as the commissioner of the Community Assistance Unit in the Giuliani administration, and was cited as being “instrumental” in the city’s response to the 9/11 terror attacks by opening a center to assist victims’ families.

All participating youngsters in costume received a gift, but names of winners were unavailable at press time.

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